How To Watercolor on Canvas Using Watercolor Ground

design team - theresa painting Oct 20, 2021
How to use watercolor ground on canvas

Have you ever wondered if there were other surfaces that you could watercolor on besides watercolor paper? There are so many incredible things to LOVE about watercolor painting but the amount of surfaces to paint on are sort of lacking. That’s where Watercolor Ground comes in! Watercolor Ground is something that you paint on any surface and it magically transforms that surface into one that you can watercolor on. Today’s focus is on how to watercolor on canvas because nothing beats being able to have a painting that is ready to hang if you don’t have a picture frame handy (and who does).






Prefer watching this tutorial instead?



1. Why Watercolor Ground?


Watercolor paint best adheres to something that is porous, which is why there is a lot of texture in cold pressed watercolor paper.

The reason you use watercolor ground is you don't want to paint on another type of surface that usually isn’t absorbent- like wood, metal, plastic, or canvas.




2. Plan in Advance


Each layer of ground that is added provides more absorbency for our paint. That’s important to keep in mind because at least 3 coats of ground is needed on your surface before painting can begin.

A coat needs at least 24 to 48 hours to dry before another coat can be added or before you can paint on the surface.

For example, in this tutorial I did 4 coats which means I didn’t get to start painting until a week and a half after my canvas was primed.




3. Apply the Watercolor Ground


Applying the watercolor ground itself is simple. I tend to do 2 layers of ground per coat to ensure the entire surface is adequately covered.

I will start covering the surface vertically and then go over it again horizontally to remove any marks from my foam brush and make sure that I didn’t inadvertently miss any spots.

Let dry and repeat, repeat, and repeat again!



4. Paint!


This tutorial explores the steps to get you to be able to use your watercolor paints on any surface so browse TPL blog for some inspiration on what you are going to put on your canvas!




On this note, why not to have a look at Peggy Dean's Guide to Nature Drawing & Watercolor: Learn to Sketch, Ink, and Paint Flowers, Plants, Trees and Animals? This guide will sort you out for many canvases to come!







5. Seal Your Painting


Now, let’s make sure our masterpiece is protected! Remember that watercolor gets reactivated if it gets wet and so in order to make sure all of the hard work doesn’t get ruined we must seal it.

There are a ton of sealant options out there, the one that I personally use is Krylon GLOSS UV-Resistant Acrylic Coating.




Theresa is a wife and mama who is passionate about sharing the joy of making fun things through her craft subscription bo.  for kids, The Create Kit, and her virtual watercolor classes. When she's not sharing the freedom that creativity brings into our lives, you can find her experimenting with her own art pieces. Check out more of her tutorials here!


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